One of my favorite movies is Pride and Prejudice. The one with Keira Knightly is the best :) There is a scene where Lizzie's best friend invited her for a visit. She married Mr. Collins and was living in the parsonage.
She takes her into the parlor and begins the conversation.... "Oh Lizzie, it's such a pleasure to run my own home!"
The first time I watched the movie, I smiled to myself. It is a pleasure to run my own home! I enjoy being here above anywhere else in the world. I love keeping it clean, making the beds, folding the laundry... all the things staying at home entails! Obviously this is a good day for me... maybe that sentence would have been different if I was up all night and the kids were going crazy ;)
When I think about a woman's duties and how much they differ one from the other, I feel we are selling ourselves short. I have written in the past about comparing ourselves with one another. Comparison is such a sticky and sometimes cruel place to be in, as you find there are many others that do things better than you. You might compare your homemaking skills to another, your cooking/baking abilities, money, physical appearance, child rearing... the list truly would never end.
Why do we do that to ourselves? I find I still struggle with looking at others and wishing I were better at something.
There are no instructions in the Bible about what you do to be a homemaker. It tells us what the Proverbs 31 woman did and talks about women in Titus 2; however, there is not a laundry list of what a woman should or shouldn't do when she takes care of the home.
Some ladies work out side the home and do not have time to pour themselves into all things homemaker. Some work from home and struggle with the same issue.
There are women that are gifted at creating beautiful meals, sewing and gardening, while others aren't interested in those avenues of homemaking.
That's where our problem lies. None of us are ever in the same scenario. Why do we try so hard to line ourselves up with each other and then beat ourselves up for missing the mark?! It wasn't your mark to begin with anyway!
Homemaking is a journey. It is hard, challenging, fulfilling, exciting, boring, frustrating, fun, comforting, (insert your adjective here). It is multi-layered, as are we. We should never look to one another and compare.
Not all men do the same thing. Each husband has his strengths and weaknesses. My husband does not provide for me the same way my dad provides for my mom. I wouldn't think he would. Why would I expect to mirror my friend and what she does if I don't expect that from the husbands?
I am not saying stay where you are and never strive to do things better. I know myself better than anyone and I am well aware of my deficiencies. I want God to fine tune what I do at home and keep it a joy. I find if I look at another woman that is an excellent cook, I mope around the house and complain to my husband I am horrible in the kitchen. I don't want to stay there, I want to improve!
I think we should look at where we are, look at the season of life we are in... and then strive to do the best we can.. right where we are. I look at my mother-in-law often and wonder what she thinks of me. She has been married almost 50 years and is one the best homemakers I have ever known. I have learned so much from her. But I cannot worry about what she thinks, even if she thinks I fail in certain areas. She has much more experience. She was raised in a home where she mastered it at a young age. I learned late in life. I was a career girl and didn't stay home until I was 30. What a change for me! I work out of my home and help run a business. I practically work full time from home and I know my mother-in-law couldn't handle that at all :) She would be beside herself that people were calling her and needing her to fax this or email that...
I am hoping you get my point. Oh, and I am not saying my mother-in-law or I say those things either ;)
If we try to compare notes, it's hardly ever the same.
We are also guilty of being hard on other women when they don't meet our mark. We lack the compassion sometimes of a woman's struggle and can't seem to understand WHY she isn't capable of that task? Shame on us! We need to have grace. We probably lack where they are strong. I am a clean person and try to keep my home organized. I have a friend that is home as well and her house looked like a bomb exploded and shot items everywhere! She would even make jokes about herself and her lack of cleaning abilities. But you know, if I could have half the patience she possesses as a mother, I'd be a happy girl. That's probably why she's not stressed! Ha!
My goal this year is to be content where I am right at this moment. I know what I would like to improve on in the home and I pray The Lord will give me strength. I want to glean wisdom from other women, but I am not surrounding myself with anyone that brings me down. I want to know Christian women that will encourage me, not make me feel hopeless. I in turn want to show grace with others. I want to understand each person's life is so different.
I want to be a Christian first, wife, then mother... and then anything else I can squeeze in after that! We all do a billion things as mothers and I want to find peace in the mundane tasks. Each and every one of them is important. May we find true joy in keeping our homes, as it is such a gift and a blessing.
I think I'll brew some tea and sit in the parlor :)